Tomorrow afternoon, the Reds are back on the road as we travel into London to take on Leyton Orient, hoping to continue our unbeaten run which began in Wimbledon. Due to London sitting tight in tier three, the game will have no fans in attendance, but you can purchase an iFollow match pass here to view at home.
Since the impressive Emirates FA Cup victory at Plough Lane against AFC Wimbledon, the Reds have hit form and are unbeaten in four successive competitive games, even believing that away draws at Mansfield Town and Colchester United should have been wins based on our dominant performances.
As 600 fans entered through the turnstiles for the first time in nine months, Reds returned to The People’s Pension Stadium after three successive away fixtures, in a clash against Barrow. Crawley opened the scoring through Max Watters in the first-half, but the away side worked hard and took the lead early on in the second, with goals from Josh Kay and Sam Hird. Eight minutes later, Tom Nichols headed against the post before the ball dropped to an alert Watters who tapped in for his second to bring the game level.
Connor Brown picked up a second yellow card as the game drew level, meaning the Crawley pressure grew tremendously. Tom Nichols converted a cool penalty after Ashley Nadesan was brought down to give the Reds the lead, before Max Watters completed his hat-trick in injury time to make it 4-2, as Nadesan was there to square it across for Watters to poke home with ease.
We then took on Bradford City on Tuesday night, following the sack of boss Stuart McCall. The Bantams were fired up and looking for a result, taking the lead through Lee Novak in the early stages despite ongoing Crawley pressure. An own-goal from a wicked Sam Matthews free-kick was the Reds leveller moments later but the game finished 1-1 as the Bantams continued to defend resolutely throughout.
Tomorrow’s opponents, Leyton Orient, hit form in late November with three consecutive wins over Harrogate, Bradford and Port Vale. The O’s also beat league leaders, Newport County, last Saturday in a home fixture that finished 2-1, before they travelled to Morecambe in midweek, but losing out by the same scoreline.
Since September of 2012, in a total of eleven competitive fixtures, the match-ups between the two sides have never ended in a draw, with Crawley winning on eight occasions, and Orient on four.
Last time out was one of our favourite away days in recent years, on a bright summer’s afternoon in August of 2019. The game ended 3-2 to Gabriele Cioffi’s Crawley after second-half substitute, Ollie Palmer, was quick to score twice to turn the game on its head in a matter of minutes.
The meeting previous to this finished 3-0 to Crawley at The People’s Pension Stadium, in a season where the O’s were later relegated to the National League. First-half goals from James Collins, Joe McNerney and Enzio Boldewijn were enough to seal the victory in a rampant opening 45 minutes, in a game where the likes of Kaby Djalo, Josh Yorwerth and Andre Blackman were all involved.
Forward Daniel Johnson is level on goals with Max Watters this season so far in Sky Bet League Two with twelve. With both strikers on fire for their respective clubs, behind Paul Mullin in the Sky Bet League Two goalscoring charts.
Johnson has impressed in his first full season for Orient, since joining from Scottish football midway through last season, with spells at Dundee FC and Motherwell. Experienced football league attackers Lee Angol and Conor Wilkinson should also feature tomorrow, adding to the forward firepower that Orient possess this season.
Ousseynou Cisse sits in the heart of the midfield for Leyton Orient, often protecting the backline with support from creative midfielders such as Craig Clay, Jobi McAnuff and new signing Mark Wright’s brother, Josh, who could feature tomorrow.
Daniel Happe and Josh Coulson have been the main centre-back partnership this season for tomorrow’s hosts, with Happe keeping seven clean sheets in all competitions in games that he has featured in this season.
Reece Grego-Cox and George Francomb are unavailable for tomorrow. Josh Doherty, Tom McGill and Jake Hesketh are doubts.
HOW THEY BE
Leyton Orient - 5/4
Draw - 12/5
Crawley Town - 19/10
The match will be streamed live on iFollow as you can hear from Gary Smith and Mick Payne from 2:55.